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Cleaning BP guns with alcohol

dannejdannej Member Posts: 478 ✭✭✭
I know that swabbing with alcohol after cleaning a BP rifle removes water from the bore. But can you use only alcohol for the whole cleaning process and dissolve all the salts?


  • ken44-40ken44-40 Member Posts: 201 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    During the late unpleasantness, officers used whiskey to clean their revolvers; while the troops had to be satisfied with using hot lye water.

    "How the Colt Navy .36 Revolver was Gunsmithed and Fired During the Civil War" by D.L. Rhea Copyright 1985
  • navc130navc130 Member Posts: 1,186 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    As I recall reading in Muzzle Blasts Magazine, there are various liquids that can be used, other than water. Rubbing alcohol and auto windshield washer fluid being two of them. Rubbing alcohol is made in two or three alcohol-to-water percent content. Being that it contains water, it should dissolve the black powder salt residue, but maybe not as efficiently, i.e., would take more cleaning time.
    You could do a test, closely monitoring the bore condition to avoid any excessive rusting.
    Also, the only alcohol that I know absorbs water is wood alcohol, not rubbing alcohol.
  • flyingcollieflyingcollie Member Posts: 197 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    All alcohols are hydroscopic, ethyl or methyl.
  • dannejdannej Member Posts: 478 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thank you for the input. I didn't think about the fact that there is water in some alcohols. I have done the test in a stainless Lyman Deerstalker with positive results in the bore. I was worried about the receiver where the brush and patches can not reach. It worked fine in the bore using rubbing alcohol. I have swabbed the bore each day for three days with no trace of color on the patches....
  • carbine100carbine100 Member Posts: 3,073 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I use a solution of equal parts 3% hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and Murphys oil soap. Works great and stores well.
  • MMOMEQ-55MMOMEQ-55 Member Posts: 13,134
    edited November -1
    Been using alcohol for years. I buy it by the gallon at Lowe's or one of the paint stores around here. It neutralizes the corrosive salts, removes any lead buildup but seems to not mess with the seasoning of the barrel.

    I submerge my barrels in a PVC pipe with the end caped. Pour in the alcohol, cap the open end and let it sit over night. I then run a bore brush and several patches down my barrels. Once they are totally clean I run a clean patch covered in TCs Bore Butter down the barrels.

    On the range I run a patch soaked in alcohol about every 3rd shot thru by barrels.
  • bartman45bartman45 Member Posts: 3,008 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Ballistol and water mix (moose milk) run thru the bore and on and in the action will prevent any rust issues. Follow up with a wipe down of pure Ballistol.
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